Aboriginal participants and cultural safety

The majority of Aboriginal people never have, and never will become involved in with the corrections system. But if they do, it’s important that they are treated fairly, with respect and are culturally safe – whether they are custodial staff or people in custody. The Review is committed to supporting cultural safety for all Aboriginal people.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples and Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and waterways upon which we depend. We acknowledge and pay our respects to ancestors of this country, Elders, knowledge holders and leaders – past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge the historical legacy of colonisation and the ongoing impact on Aboriginal people, families and communities that has left many vulnerable to contact with the justice system.

For the minority of Aboriginal who become involved in the correctional system, we recognise their significant vulnerability in custody and the impact of their detention on the families and communities to which they belong.

In conducting this Review, we also recognise the ongoing resilience, strength and leadership of Aboriginal people and communities across Victoria in striving to address inequalities and improve outcomes for people who become involved in the custodial corrections system.

We acknowledge the invaluable contributions and insights of Aboriginal people to the Review and are committed to working alongside them to identify how to best improve outcomes for Aboriginal people both working and detained in the Victorian corrections system.

Cultural safety is important for both people in custody and custodial staff

Cultural safety is about creating an environment that respects and values the identity, culture and experience of Aboriginal people. In a culturally safe environment, people do not experience discrimination, assault, or challenges to their identity.

In Victoria, the right to culture for Aboriginal people is protected by the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. This law recognises the special relationship Aboriginal Victorians have with their culture. Under the Charter, Aboriginal Victorians have the right to enjoy their identity and culture, to maintain and use their language, and maintain their kinship ties to members of their community.

What the Review will examine

Cultural safety will be a central theme of the Cultural Review of Adult Custodial Corrections System. We will look at the cultural safety of both Aboriginal people working in prisons and correctional centres, and Aboriginal people in custody. We will also be looking at how prisons give effect to self-determination – making sure Aboriginal people have a say in decisions that affect them.

Through the Review, we hope to hear from:

  • Aboriginal people working in custodial roles
  • Aboriginal people who have spent time in custody, and members of their family
  • community organisations and advocates with specialist knowledge about the experiences of Aboriginal people in Victorian prisons and correctional centres.

We are committed to ensuring any engagement you have with the Review will be respectful, supportive and culturally safe.

As an expert independent panel member, Jill Gallagher AO, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Health Organisation and former Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, will guide the Review’s focus on cultural safety and ensure it improves the experiences of Aboriginal people with Victoria’s corrections system.

Your experiences can help shape the Review

Find out more about how your experiences can help shape the Review’s findings and recommendations: